Fluoride Action Network

British Scientist & Study Author Condemns UK Proposal

Fluoride Action Network | Bulletin | December 9, 2021

As the House of Lords in the United Kingdom considers a proposal to mandate fluoridation in the National Health and Care bill, esteemed British scientists are continuing to speak out in opposition. In October, three scientists–Vyvyan Howard, MB, ChB, PhD, Spedding Micklem, PhD, and Paul Connett, PhD–published a public statement to Boris Johnson, ripping apart the proposal using the latest science and slamming politicians for ignoring the well documented side-effects that will impact millions of residents.

We would like to share excerpts from a statement written in March by another british scientist. It was a formal evidence submission to the House of Commons Health Select Committee–which the author is an expert advisor to–during their inquiry into the white paper on the Health and Care proposal. The letter was written by Stephen Peckham, BSc, MA, a professor of health policy at the University of Kent and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Peckham was the lead author of a 2015 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community linking community water fluoridation to increased rates of hypothyroidism in the UK.  It attracted widespread attention at the time. Now we must bring that same attention to this and other statements from those experts who have quite literally “done their research.”

Excerpts from the written evidence submitted by Professor Stephen Peckham

…The lack of water fluoridation has certainly not been a problem and I would suggest that if the Secretary of State was looking for ways to improve oral health then water fluoridation should not even be considered given its lack of effectiveness. More attention should be given to schemes such as ChildSmile in Scotland which has been proven to reduce inequalities, reduce admissions for tooth extractions and provide broader public health benefits beyond oral health. Such a scheme links very clearly to addressing obesity issues as well. The need for more action on oral health issues is clearly identified in the recent Public Health England report on oral health inequalities. Focusing on water fluoridation is somewhat misguided

I am also concerned about the inaccuracy of statements in the White paper in relation to the effectiveness of water fluoridation as a public health intervention. The White Paper claims that:

Water Fluoridation is clinically proven to improve oral health and reduce oral health inequalities. It has a protective effect which reduces the impact of a high sugar diet or poor oral hygiene. Around 10% of the population of England currently receive fluoridated water. In the most deprived areas fluoridation of water has been shown to reduce tooth decay in 5-year olds by a third”

Comprehensive and systematic reviews of water fluoridation do not support these claims and where such claims have been made they are based on inconclusive evidence and predominantly studies carried out pre 1975 – before the wide use of fluoride toothpastes (See limitations noted in the 2015 Cochrane Review and earlier 2000 NHSCRD review). There is also increasing evidence of neurological harm affecting IQ  in recent studies funded by the National Institutes for Health in North America and I am therefore surprised that this rather outdated, and ineffective intervention is given priority in the current White Paper proposals. We should not be considering any new schemes given the increasing amount of evidence linking fluoridation to harmful health effects.

In addition, in 2013 when decisions about water fluoridation were transferred from the NHS Strategic Health Authorities to local government the specific reason given was that local communities should have a stronger say. The current proposal would seem to shift that control to central government and the Department of Health and Social Care. This effectively removes a significant degree of community engagement and will likely reduce any subsequent proposals to simply being consultation exercises that give local people very little involvement in the process…

See References Below The Update / Read The Full Letter

Peckham’s letter is especially important because his speciality is in health policies and he is currently an adviser to the British government on these matters. It is extraordinary therefore that his advice has been ignored in favor of a white paper that was written by oral health specialists who were hopelessly out of date with respect to the US government-funded fluoride-IQ studies and the other harm that fluoridation may cause. By ignoring Peckham the government is setting itself up for a very embarrassing situation when the real science becomes known to decision-makers and the general public. Lord Reay’s 6 minute speech in the House of Lords (transcript here) on Tuesday will hopefully shorten the time it takes for that reality to be achieved if enough people in the UK get to see and hear it.

Stuart Cooper
Campaign Director
Fluoride Action Network


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  • Building back better for population health and wellbeing https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/09/28/building-back-better-for-population-health-and-wellbeing/
  • ChildSmile http://www.child-smile.org.uk/professionals/research-and-evaluation/publications.aspx
  • Bashash, M., Thomas, D., Hu, H., Angeles Martinez-Mier, E., Sanchez, B.N., Basu, N., Peterson, K.E., Ettinger, A.S., Wright, R., Zhang, Z. and Liu, Y., 2017. Prenatal fluoride exposure and cognitive outcomes in children at 4 and 6–12 years of age in Mexico. Environmental health perspectives125(9), p.097017
  • Grandjean, P., Hu, H., Till, C., Green, R., Bashash, M., Flora, D., Tellez-Rojo, M.M., Song, P.X., Lanphear, B. and Budtz-Jorgensen, E., 2020. A Benchmark Dose Analysis for Maternal Pregnancy Urine-Fluoride and IQ in Children. medRxiv
  • Green, R., Rubenstein, J., Popoli, R., Capulong, R. and Till, C., 2020. Sex-specific neurotoxic effects of early-life exposure to fluoride:
  • A review of the epidemiologic and animal literature. Current Epidemiology Reports, pp.1-11
  • Iheozor?Ejiofor, Z., Worthington, H.V., Walsh, T., O’Malley, L., Clarkson, J.E., Macey, R., Alam, R., Tugwell, P., Welch, V. and Glenny, A.M., 2015. Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (6
  • Till, C. and Green, R., 2020. Controversy: The evolving science of fluoride: when new evidence doesn’t conform with existing beliefs. Pediatric Research, pp.1-3.

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